For more than a year now, Vince McMahon has been open about his plan to license some or all of WWE Network’s content to other providers. This morning (Jan. 25), the company announced the entire service will now be housed at Peacock, the new streaming service of long-time partner NBCUniversal.
WWE Network will be available on Peacock’s Premium tier, with is $4.99 per month or free with a Comcast (NBCUniversal’s parent company) cable package. The Premium tier is ad-supported, so non-live broadcasts will have commercials unless you pony up $9.99 for a Premium Plus subscription.
For live broadcasts, the deal will include all PPV events starting with March’s Fastlane - which means WWE & Peacock aren’t offering an arrangement like UFC’s with ESPN+ where some content is included and major shows require an additional purchase... at least not yet.
There are questions about how the rollover will go for existing WWE Network subscribers, and the partners are promising those will be answered closer to the change over on March 18. There is no change for WWE Network subscribers outside of the United States.
No word on how much NBCUniversal paid in licensing fees, but WWE President Nick Khan told Variety, “We feel great about the financials. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have done the deal. To have WrestleMania in particular — which is our Super Bowl — available [for no extra cost] on Peacock is quite different from other models you’re seeing.
Peacock, which is playing catch-up in the streaming wars against not only industry leader Netflix but also fellow recent entrants like Disney+ and HBO Max, figures to add WWE Network’s million or so subscribers. And, as we discussed around the news NBC is shuttering their cable Sports Network, the lure of live events to further build Peacock’s subscription base. As Peacock Executive Vice-President and Chief Revenue Officer Rick Cordella is quoted in Variety, “We have a lot of data that shows live events and sports drives a lot of user acquisition. The bet is that there exists a much larger total available audience [for WWE programming] than is on WWE Network today.”
More on this to follow, no doubt. In the meantime, here’s the official press release:
Peacock to the become the exclusive home of WWE Network in the U.S.
Peacock and WWE today announced a multi-year agreement that gives Peacock exclusive streaming rights to WWE Network in the U.S.
“NBCUniversal has a long-standing relationship with WWE that began nearly 30 years ago with Monday Night Raw on USA. WWE has always tapped into the cultural zeitgeist with spectacular live events and larger-than-life characters, and we are thrilled to be the exclusive home for WWE Network and its millions of fans across the country,” said Rick Cordella, Executive Vice President and Chief Revenue Officer, Peacock. “WWE Network is a transformative addition to the platform and complements Peacock’s massive catalog of iconic movies and shows, as well as the best live news and sports, from NBCUniversal and beyond.”
“We are thrilled to further the long-standing and trusted partnership WWE has with NBCUniversal,” said Nick Khan, WWE President and Chief Revenue Officer. “Peacock is an innovative platform that will enable us to showcase our most significant events, including WrestleMania, and provide the extraordinary entertainment our fans have come to expect with the combination of premium WWE content, live sports, news, films, and television programs.”
Peacock will launch WWE Network on March 18, beginning the roll-out of more than 17,000 hours of new, original, and library WWE Network programming on demand and on a 24/7 channel, including:
- All live pay-per-view events including WrestleMania and SummerSlam; Fastlane will be the first WWE pay-per-view to stream on Peacock on Sunday, March 21.
- Original series like Steve Austin Broken Skull Sessions, Undertaker: The Last Ride and the all-new WWE Icons;
- In-ring shows like NXT, NXT UK and WWE 205 Live, as well as replays of Raw and SmackDown;
- WWE Network archives, including every WWE, WCW and ECW pay-per-view event in history;
- Groundbreaking documentaries, including WWE 24, WWE Untold, and WWE 365;
- And, starting in 2022, one signature documentary annually.
The companies will share details on managing customer accounts closer to the Peacock launch in March. WWE Network, including all PPVs, will be available on Peacock
Premium for $4.99—a $5.00/month savings—where members will enjoy access to the entire WWE and Peacock catalog, more than 47,000 hours of premium programming. For an ad-free experience, Peacock Premium Plus will be available for $9.99.
Viewers can sign up for Peacock at peacocktv.com. Peacock is currently available on the Roku platform; Apple devices, including iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Apple TV 4K and Apple TV HD; Google platforms and devices, including Android™, Android TV™ devices, Chromecast and Chromecast built-in devices; Microsoft’s Xbox One family of devices, including Xbox One S and Xbox One X; Sony PlayStation4, PlayStation 4 Pro, and PlayStation5; and VIZIO SmartCast™ TVs and LG Smart TVs. Comcast’s eligible Xfinity X1 and Flex customers and Cox Contour customers enjoy Peacock Premium included with their service at no additional cost.